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Recovery Support Specialists

Parents with a substance use disorders often struggle with feelings of ambivalence towards treatment. Offering the phone number of a local treatment facility to a parent with a substance use disorder is unlikely to lead to treatment engagement. A systemic response that engages parents as early as possible will maximize parents’ motivation. Recovery supports address barriers to engagement and parental lack of motivation to help facilitate entrance into recovery. The practice of co-locating recovery coaches and mentors in dependency courts and child welfare offices is used to improve communication between the child welfare professionals and substance use disorder treatment agencies, ensure a seamless delivery of services, encourage recovery and can lead to better treatment outcomes.

The resources on this page offer background information, strategies and site examples on implementing recovery support specialists in child welfare to improve family engagement in treatment. You will find information on the two most common recovery support models:

  • Substance abuse specialists are treatment professionals placed in child welfare offices or courts offering on-site substance use disorder consultation, assessment and case management services;
  • Recovery coaches/mentors are persons with lived experience of substance use disorder and child welfare involvement who can engage parents in services.
  • Highlighted Resource

    • Children and Recovering Mothers (CHARM) Collaborative, Appendix 5
      Children and Recovering Mothers (CHARM) Collaborative, Appendix 5 (PDF 1.53 MB)

      Appendix 5 of this document provides details about the CHARM Collaborative where a team partners with child protective services (CPS) in the 30 days before the woman’s due date to jointly, with the family and treatment providers, create a plan for the infant and family for after the baby’s birth. This proactive approach to engaging pregnant women in treatment and establishing the plan for the newborn has significantly reduced the number of emergency investigations for CPS at the time of birth. This case study includes an example of the CHARM Collaborative Universal Consent and CHARM memorandum of understanding.

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